Visiting the largely dead model city of Chernobyl in Ukraine is an example of a successful excursion into virtual reality over the past few months. If you always wanted to go there, now you can save the journey on yourself, because under the virtual reality glasses in the radiation-free living room of the home, you are there as intensely as if you were there.
At the recent Olympic Games in Brazil for Basketball and at the FIFA World Championships in Russia, the opening match was broadcast in virtual reality. The BBC’s sports editorial team had its own app programmed for this. Two cameras were placed in all directions behind the gates, but that was it.
In Olympic basketball, you would sometimes float over the field, sometimes right on the edge of the field. I felt sick because you had to keep turning your head to find the ball.
We are only at the beginning of development here. Even with regular TV, it took a long time to figure out the best way to use camera technology for any sport. Today we watch HD on TV and tablet. This is way too short for virtual reality transmission. The fun only begins with an overall picture resolution of 4000 pixels: 4k – about four times the number of pixels our HDTV offers.
Not only the bandwidth is important
“There is definitely more data than regular video. But I think we have bandwidths that can do that. So the question is how does the end user, the viewer, connect to the Internet.”
The flat country is lagging behind the fiber optic city again – says Oliver Statt. The computer scientist chairs the Chair of Visual Computing at the University of Rostock and speaks for augmented and virtual reality at Gesellschaft für Informatik GI.
In his opinion, the most important question of bandwidth is what is really appropriate for virtual reality. According to Stadt, Chernobyl is ideal because you can visit the polluted area on your own. On the other hand, in the playground you are with others, and this experience cannot be created in the living room when everyone puts their glasses on their heads, which are opaque forward. But with virtual reality you are much closer, right in the middle of it.
Less “white elephants”
“The advantage could be to have more compact stadiums that have a better atmosphere for spectators in the location because it is closer to the action, in addition to that spectators who may not even be able to enter the stadium feel this experience with virtual reality.”
Smaller stadiums mean debris will not decrease after matches, but will be smaller. These ruins, which have just left the World Cup soccer finals like the ones in South Africa, are called white elephants: a lot of money is being burned quickly without a sustainable sports infrastructure. Virtual reality will not get rid of this franchise machine.
However, technology related to virtual reality will also bring added value to stadium visitors of all sizes during games in the near future: augmented reality.
“Augmented reality has more potential when you are there on the field and you can receive additional information about what you see with your own eyes.”
Her glasses are transparent. So you can see the real field as usual, but then you get, for example, the number of passes that the player you are looking at has reached the opponent, that is, they were bad passes. This technique is just the beginning. Tracking is a big problem: the glasses have to process head movements and import the virtual information to the right place in the field of view without delay. Nice side effects of major events with poor attendance include:
“If you have an augmented reality headset with a large field of view, you can of course fill in the empty stands with other viewers who are then artificial avatars.
These methods will really get the sport up. We will be able to safely experience the upcoming FIFA World Cup at home in virtual reality, and maybe by then augmented reality will also be ready to show the way to our real place in the stadium with superimposed information.